History Research Project: Discovering the New World
The 15th Century Vs the 21st Century
A comparative and contrasting document that looks into the possibility of conflict, disease spread, war, violence, and national competition in exploring outer space without recognizing our History and why we learn it.
By Kelli O’Shea
U.S. History to 1877
A LOOK INTO THE NEW WORLD
Imagine a new world unfolding in front of our eyes. While science fiction movies do a marvelous job at portraying the unfathomable, we still cannot even picture the idea of what the 22nd century brings. Here we sit in the 21st century. The majority of people are too involved in cell phones, television and internet to ever stop and star-gaze anymore, even though the outer space is what made most of this global connection possible. Looking into the skies, we see the New World. Could this New World be anything like that of the 15th century’s New World across the seas? Although many would not see a comparison of these vastly different time frames, the exploration of the New World is in both with a lot to easily compare and contrast. As the problem America had once was the new settlement causing numerous deaths though disease, violence, war and global competition, we see this problem resurface with America’s current-probable issue of Space Exploration that may lead to disease, violence, war and global competition. What was then is now…
IN 1492, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS SAILED THE OCEAN BLUE
To first understand the issue, we must look into our history. What happened around the 1400’s? First, there was a thought of the possibility to sail further than ever before. A thought was formed, to sail into the unknown. The risks and dangers involved with taking a trip that uncertain and unknown left very few interested in the idea. Alas, Christopher Columbus figured that he could find a new western trade route to Asia so that the imports may be cheaper. His idea came about through miscalculations of only 2,500 miles separating him from Asia when the distance was actually 11,000 miles… Regardless, this journey was funded and a trip to what was the “New World” was made. (James et al. 2011, pg 32-46)
The adventure to explore and discover the new world was finally embarked upon and Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. Aside from both failures in his miscalculations and the fact that a giant land mass separated him from his western trade routes, failed attempts plagued the journeys. Amerigo Vespucci of 1499 investigated the New World and thus giving the title of the Americas. Many died on their journey to the New World. One example of the large amounts of death and mistakes is that of Magellan’s voyage where five ships and over 250 men went to the Americas. Upon one man’s return in 1522, only one ship and eighteen men were left… After several explorers both successful and not so successful visited the Americas, it was no surprise that the Columbian Exchange was set up to trade goods, peoples, ideas, new foods, and disease to both continents. Some of the most well known diseases that were transferred were the measles, smallpox, respiratory illnesses, and syphilis. By 1570, the Indian population in New Spain had fallen by 90%. (James et al. 2011, pg 46-60)
Of course, after the knowledge of some success and possible riches that the New World offered, a spark in country competition ignited. Much like a game of Risk, the nations began to compete of a divide and conquer. The more land, the more power was how many had seen it. After fighting to take land and mark ownership, disputes began to erupt. While England new of Spain’s ownerships of the North American areas, England citizens were still shipped to the New World with royal charters saying they were allowed to be there, one such example is VA’s company in 1606. It was only obvious that this could not end...
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